Report: Cassel may miss Chiefs' opener

Posted Sept. 05, 2011 @ 12:20 p.m.
Posted By PFW staff

Updated Sept. 6, 2011 @ 12:43 a.m. ET

Chiefs QB Matt Cassel has a rib injury that could keep him out of the season opener against Buffalo, the Kansas City Star reported Sunday evening.

However, Cassel was a full participant in the team's practice Monday, according to head coach Todd Haley. Cassel threw some short passes during the open portion of the practice, the Star reported Monday.

"I'm good,'' Cassel told the Star when asked after Monday's practice how he felt. "I'm ready to roll.''

If Cassel is unable to play, backup Tyler Palko would start. Palko, 28, has never started a regular-season NFL game and has attempted only six passes in regular-season play. The left-hander has spent time with a number of NFL teams since leaving Pitt after the 2006 season and was on Kansas City's practice squad for most of last season before becoming the No. 3 quarterback.

Palko was the team's best quarterback in the preseason, according to the Star, but he didn't play well against Green Bay, throwing two interceptions.

Cassel left the Chiefs' final preseason game Thursday night after being hit by 340-pound Packers DL Howard Green midway through the second quarter. Cassel did some throwing on the sideline after the sack, and he said after the game that he just had the wind knocked out of him and wanted to return to the game. He said he'd be ready to play in Week One.

However, according to a source close to the situation, Chiefs head coach Todd Haley told Palko after the game, "You'd better be ready to play Sunday," according to the Star.

After going to the locker room with the team at halftime, Cassel didn't return to the sideline until the start of the fourth quarter.

Haley has been unavailable to answer questions about Cassel's status since immediately after the game, according to the Star.

Starting TE Tony Moeaki was also injured in the second quarter of the game, and his left knee injury has landed him on injured reserve, meaning he'll miss the entire season.

It's somewhat unusual for starters to be playing in the second quarter of the final preseason game, but the speculation is that Haley left his starters in the game because the offense had been so unproductive this preseason. Its 42 points scored in four games was a league low.

The way we see it

This is obviously bad news for the Chiefs, whose offense had become a big concern even before this report surfaced. With Palko at quarterback, the offense could struggle even more to score points. Don't be surprised if the Chiefs sign a veteran quarterback in the next day or two, particularly if it looks as though Cassel will miss some time.